One thing President Obama’s executive action amnesty is not, despite the White House and the Department of Justice’s insistence, is an emergency measure. There’s no urgency to granting work permits, Social Security numbers, welfare benefits and earned income tax credits to 5 million illegal immigrants. Some have lived in the U.S. unlawfully for decades, are not in danger of deportation, and would likely continue to live without incident at least for the duration of Obama’s second term.
On May 26, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals correctly denied the Obama administration’s request for an emergency stay on the Texas district court’s February injunction which temporarily blocked Obama’s unilateral amnesty program. Last week, the appeals court ordered the administration and the Texas-led coalition of 26 states to file new legal briefs by June 18 in anticipation of the three-judge panel’s July 10 hearing on the merits of District Court Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction. The court will consider whether Hanen’s injunction should be lifted or upheld.
Earlier, the White House passed up an opportunity to present its case to the Supreme Court. Instead, the administration gambled that it could convince a mostly conservative-leaning appeals court that its case to grant temporary legal status and employment authorization documents as well as other benefits to parents of illegal immigrants has intrinsic worth. The White House charged the appeals court with misrepresenting the law and the facts while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Judge Hanen’s decision represents “a victory for those committed to preserving the rule of law in America.”
How much longer it may take the courts to reach a final decision is hard to predict. Some legal insiders say the Supreme Court is not anxious to hear the case, and with its already overcrowded docket, time might run out on Obama.
For those that Attorney General Paxton praised for being on the right side of the law, this proverb, variously attributed, applies: “The mills of the gods grind slow, but exceedingly fine.”